It’s that time of year again! I posted these graphics on my Instagram last December but thought they were worthwhile to share on the blog, as well. The holidays are fast approaching, and those who want to share their good fortune with others may look to “adopt a family” programs this winter. While I love the sentiment behind spreading kindness and cheer to friends and strangers alike, I ask readers to be conscientious about word choice and reflect upon what it really means to adopt a family this holiday season.
The text from the images below reads: “So you want to adopt a family this Christmas… Please don’t! “Adopt a family” programs are popular around the holidays as well as “adopt a freshman” programs on college campuses and “adopt a grandparent” programs, too. The overuse of the word “adopt” is troublesome and trivializes adoption into a one-time or short-term, temporary, feel-good charity project rather than recognizing that adoption is a complicated, permanent, legal commitment and something that creates lifelong, traumatic losses for people who are actually adopted.
In most “adopt a family” programs, donors don’t meet the recipients, meaning that the word “adopt” is used solely for a financial transaction in this situation. What’s more, using the word adopt is demeaning to the recipient families. They probably don’t want to be adopted; they just might need some extra help this holiday season.
Instead, you can…
- Sponsor a family
- Spread holiday cheer
- Recognize the spirit of the season
- Be a secret santa
- Support a family